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Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly

University of Oxford
Projecting Imperial Power. New Nineteenth-Century Emperors and the Public Sphere
01 September 2018 - 31 January 2019

Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly is Professor of German Literature at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. She taught previously at the University of Reading and was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin from 2004 to 2005. From 2005 to 2008 she led the AHRC Major Research Project: Representations of Women and Death in German Literature, Art and Media from 1500 to the present (with Sarah Colvin) and from 2013 to 2016 the HERA-funded project: Marrying Cultures. Queens Consort and European Identities 1500-1800. She has published four monographs, two book-length translations and edited or co-edited six other books. In 2012 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2016 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature honoris causa by the National University of Ireland.

Research interests

German literature and culture from the late 15th to the early 18th centuries within their European context; German women's writing in all periods; the representation of women in German literature and culture; European court culture and its representation in media, art and architecture.

Projecting Imperial Power. New Nineteenth-Century Emperors and the Public Sphere

In 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French. This set a process in motion which led to the creation of the Emperors of Austria in the same year, of Brazil and Mexico in 1822, of Mexico again in 1864, of Germany in 1871 and British India in 1876. Within different political and constitutional contexts each emperor had to establish an imperial court, invent an imperial tradition and create imperial spaces, images, rhetoric, ceremonies and festivals. My project asks how these were constituted and projected at a time of the increasing spread and power of the media and of growing democratisation. During the imperial reigns to be investigated significant buildings, images and objects were commissioned, cities were remodelled and the relation of the monarch to the media was altered. My project asks what we can learn from this performance of power and invention of tradition about the coming of modernity, the emotional connection between ruler and ruled, the management of news and the manipulation of the media in the age of mass-circulation newspapers, photography and film. These questions are still highly relevant today.

03 Jan 2019 16:00 -
03 Jan 2019 18:00,
Calcutta :
From the Legion of Honour to the Star of India. New Nineteenth-Century Emperors and their Orders of Chivalry
03 Dec 2018 18:00 -
03 Dec 2018 19:30,
Londres :
Catholic Ruler, Protestant People. The Impact of the Reformation on Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe
Talk by H. Watanabe-O'Kelly, 2018-2019 Paris IAS fellow
16 Nov 2018 14:20 -
16 Nov 2018 15:40,
Paris :
Religion and Confession as the Bedrock of Monarchy and Court
Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly presents her research project within the framework of the weekly internal seminar
06 Nov 2018 10:00 -
06 Nov 2018 13:00,
Paris :
Projecting Imperial Power. New Nineteenth-Century Emperors and the Public Sphere
Research project: "Projecting Imperial Power. New Nineteenth-Century Emperors and the Public Sphere"
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region